HHMI Gilliam Fellowship - Irving Estevez

  • July 27, 2023
Awards & Honors

Irving Estevez a PhD student in the Neuroscience graduate program at Rutgers has been awarded a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Gilliam Fellowship in July 2023.  Nationally, there are only 50 Gilliam Fellows awarded per year for students conducting outstanding research in their respective scientific fields and their advisers who are committed to building a more inclusive scientific ecosystem. Irving’s thesis advisor is Brian P. Daniels, PhD in the Cell Biology and Neuroscience Department and his thesis research is focused on investigating the effects of RIPK3 signaling on neuronal sensitivity to excitotoxic cell death following Zika virus infection, as well as the mechanisms of neurotropic flavivirus sequelae in the aging brain and neurodegenerative disorders. One of Irving's most significant contributions has been the strategic use of pharmacological drugs in clinical studies to unearth the mysteries of RIPK3 signaling. This rigorous experimental setup has empowered him to observe firsthand the effects of pharmacological interventions on signaling pathways, yielding novel insights into disease progression and potential therapeutic avenues.

Each Gilliam adviser-student pair will receive an annual award totaling $53,000 for up to three years. The Gilliam Program invests in graduate students from populations historically excluded and underrepresented in science so that they are prepared to become scientific leaders. This year, they received 295 applications. These were reviewed by panels of distinguished scientists and leaders in graduate education and student training. The reviewers were asked to evaluate the applications using two criteria: (i) the student’s scientific and leadership potential, and (ii) the adviser’s and institution’s commitment to mentorship and to the development of inclusive environments for all constituencies. HHMI recognizes that the advisers of Gilliam Fellows play an important role in helping the students realize their high potential. Since 2015, more than 250 Gilliam advisers have successfully completed a year-long course in culturally aware mentorship, developed and led by the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER).  Gilliam is unique among pre-graduate fellowships in that it recognizes the important professional partnership between graduate student and adviser, the outstanding potential for scientific leadership of the student, and the opportunity for the adviser to be an agent for positive culture change within the scientific training environment. Congratulations to Irving and Assistant Professor Brian Daniels! 

Irving Estevez